ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. - More than half a dozen couples paid a big deposit on a dream wedding, only to have their dreams dashed before the big day because their venue was canceled and their deposits were stolen months before the wedding.
Channel 9’s Renee Stoll spoke to one of eight brides John Leclair allegedly stole from.
One bride showed up the day of her wedding to find out the man who rented the venue had taken her money and that he didn't own the venue.
The current homeowners of the Estate at John’s Lake felt so bad for her they let her get married there, but the other victims were not so lucky.
“Girls dream about this from a young age. We were planning our dream wedding,” said victim Stacy Seballo. “We already had the caterer, the bakery, the florist; everything was set.”
Seballo and her husband put down a $2,700 deposit, but a few months before her wedding she saw something alarming on the estate’s Facebook page.
“They posted a status saying, ‘Unfortunately we’re closing the venue,’” she said. “I tried calling their number and it was disconnected. I tried emailing and there was nothing.”
The Seballos found out they weren’t the only couple who had booked the venue and were now out of thousands of dollars.
According to a new lawsuit the attorney general filed against Leclair, there are eight victims in total.
“He better change his name and leave the state because the last thing you want is a whole team of angry brides coming after you,” said Stacy Seballo’s husband, Andre Seballo.
According to the lawsuit, Leclair gave the brides several excuses as to why the venue closed, from noise complaints to a septic issue.
The attorney general said neither of those claims were true.
The Seballos said no one has been able to locate Leclair.